All schools in Delhi will remain closed till November 5, the Delhi government announced on Friday amid rising pollution levels in the region. On Friday morning, thick blanket of haze covered Delhi with pollution levels increasing overnight by around 50 points, taking the overall air quality index to 459. The AQI has entered the "severe plus" or "emergency" category late Thursday night, the first time since January this year. The announcement was made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today.
"All schools in Delhi to remain closed till November 5, following rise in pollution levels due to stubble burning," he said.
Meanwhile, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has declared a public health emergency in Delhi-NCR and banned construction activities till November 5. The Supreme Court mandated panel also banned the bursting of crackers during the winter season. "We have to take this as a public health emergency as air pollution will have adverse health impact on all, particularly our children," EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said in a letter to the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority also asked public authorities to issue advisories asking people to minimise their personal exposure to pollution as far as possible.
"People have also been advised to not exercise in the open till the pollution level reduces and special care should be taken of the children, aged and vulnerable population.
"This is a grave situation and I am hoping for your personal intervention so that there is stringent enforcement and full compliance with the directions issued," EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said.